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Northmost Australia : Robert Logan Jack :

See our disclaimer. Customer Reviews. Write a review. He wrote me on 29th December, "I am glad to learn that you have on the stocks a work of the kind you mention. I should indeed consider it a very real honour to have it dedicated to me, for I know well that it would be the standard of reference for future generations when personally we are long off the scene.

For portraits of Sir Augustus Gregory and Sir Thomas McIlwraith, and for a mass of information re explorations, surveys, dates, names, etc. His long experience in the Survey Office made him an unrivalled authority on such matters. For information re the Coco-nut plantation and conditions in the Cape York district generally.

For permission to reproduce portrait of William Carron from his Records of Australian Botanists , and for botanical notes. For the text of James Dick's report on the Dickie, Dick and Sheffield traverse of the McIlwraith Range; for a search in the archives of the Department for my missing map; for statistical and other information. For access to books and maps and special facilities for the examination of Kennedy and early Dutch-Australian Literature and documents. For official statement re construction of Cape York Telegraph.

For access to Books, Newspaper files and documents and facilities for the perusal of Kennedy and other documents.

ROBERT LOGAN JACK

For information which assisted in tracing my lost maps and for reminiscences of the survey and construction of the Cape York Telegraph. For copy of Bradford's report on Cape York Telegraph Survey , with maps, and for permission to publish. For access to Parliamentary papers and documents. For maps of the Department of Lands, and officially authenticated information re explorations and surveys.

Northmost Australia, Vol. 2 of 2 (Classic Reprint)

WEBB, W. For special article on the Cooktown Palmer Rush ; for portraits of Dickie, Dick and himself; and for notes on early prospectors. For permission to reproduce portraits of Leichhardt, Kennedy, Burke and Wills from books published by them. For botanical notes, and especially for notes and references re Gastrolobium. The Cape York Peninsula, forming, as it does, the link binding the two great islands of Australia and New Guinea, is necessarily of the highest importance from a geological, ethnological, zoological, botanical, historical, political and strategical point of view. It so happens that the Peninsula is the first part of Australia to which authentic written history refers.

On the earliest landing of Europeans there arose the complex questions which obtrude themselves whenever civilisation comes into contact with barbarism. My practical interest in the Peninsula began with a tour made in in the course of my Geological Survey work. On my way to the recently rushed and still more recently abandoned "Coen" gold diggings, I crossed the base of the then almost unknown Cape Melville Peninsula, where I found indications of auriferous country, and also the rivers south of Princess Charlotte Bay, down which the unfortunate explorer Kennedy had struggled in vain to keep his appointment with the relief ship twenty-two years earlier.

From the Coen, I was only able to push out to the north for a period inexorably limited by the condition of my horses and the quantity of food remaining in my saddle-bags. Even under these conditions, however, I penetrated for some distance into the McIlwraith Range, and on the heads of the river which I named the Peach unaware that it was the river named the Archer by the Brothers Jardine, who crossed it near its mouth I found widespread evidence of the presence of gold and tin.

From the Laura Telegraph Office, from Cooktown, and ultimately from my headquarters at Townsville, I made such communications as were possible in anticipation of a complete report to the head of the Department of Mines, which administered the Geological Survey. My individual impression was that the reefs in the district traversed were of more importance than the alluvial gold, but there had been neither means nor time at my disposal to enable me to satisfy myself of the value of either, and this view I duly represented in my correspondence with the Department.

The desire of the Government, and of the eager diggers throughout Queensland, was to discover an alluvial goldfield on the pattern of the Palmer, which was by that time approaching exhaustion.


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A party of miners, headed by James Crosbie, volunteered to go and settle the question of the existence of payable alluvial gold, and they asked for and obtained government assistance, and I was instructed to lead them to the spot. In addition, a prospecting party was equipped, with money subscribed in Cook-town, and sent out to anticipate the expedition subsidised by the Government. The combined geological and prospecting parties left Cooktown on 26th November, , and striking out from the "bend of the Kennedy" on the Cooktown-Palmerville road, reached the "Peach" Archer River on 20th December.

The prospectors commenced operations at once, and were rewarded with "prospects" which led them into the jungle-clad recesses of the McIlwraith Range. Here, to their disappointment, although prospects were obtained here and there, the creeks and gullies were found to run over almost bare rocks, their beds being too steep for the retention of any quantity of alluvial "washdirt.

For the remainder of our time in the field, the creeks were too swollen for the "bottom" to be reached where there was any washdirt at all, or the ground was too sodden to carry our horses. There were long and vexatious delays when it was neither possible to work nor to travel.

Nevertheless, we continued, during breaks in the bad weather, to cross the McIlwraith Range and touch the Macrossan Range. Regaining the summit of the McIlwraith Range, we followed it to its northern extremity, where the valley of the Pascoe River separates it from the mountain mass which we named the Janet Range. It was found that the Pascoe River bounds the Janet Range on the south and east, and we practically followed it down till we had finally to cross it where it took an easterly course towards the Pacific.

We had already made up our minds that it was safer to chance the unknown in the north than to return to Cooktown across several great rivers, now all certain to be flooded. No sooner had we left the Pascoe than we entered on the Bad Lands or Wet Desert of "heath" and "scrub" without anything for horses to live on. From the Pascoe to the Escape River, our course must have coincided in many places with Kennedy's on his "forlorn hope" journey, and we repeated many of his experiences, as told by his surviving companion Jackey-Jackey, but happily not the series of disasters which resulted in his own death and the disasters which overtook the two parties he left behind to await the relief he went to bring.

The natives displayed in our case, as in Kennedy's, a persistent hostility which hampered our. Horses died of starvation or poison, and the men of the party were running perilously short of food—the journey having been prolonged beyond our calculations—when we reached Somerset on 3rd April, Kennedy's maps and journals perished with him, and what we know of his expedition is taken as far north as the Pascoe River from the narrative written by William Carron, one of the three survivors, and north of the Pascoe from the "statement" of the black boy Jackey-Jackey, another of the survivors and the only one of the thirteen men to make the complete journey from Rockingham Bay to Somerset.

The Geological and Prospecting Party's route only coincided for a short distance, from the head of the Jardine River to its westward bend, with that of the Jardine Brothers Day after day, during the whole of my journey, I was mapping the mountain ranges, rivers and other features of the country, checking my latitudes by star-observations whenever the night sky was clear enough, and as far as charting was concerned we were in virgin ground.

My report on the two expeditions was completed at my Townsville office in the winter of and sent to the Minister for Mines, Brisbane, with the relative map, which had taken a good deal of time, subject to interruptions by other duties.

Index:Northmost Australia volume 2.djvu

The report was printed and officially issued on 14th September, , without my having had any opportunity of seeing it through the press, and to my astonishment the map—which might have been supposed to be of the first importance—was omitted. After the map had reached Brisbane and before my report was published, my map had been reduced to a smaller scale and embodied in official maps issued by the Department of Lands. In that form, however, my charting was open, in parts, to an interpretation which I could never have sanctioned.

ESHG Biographies

In , when. I had been out of the government service for about fourteen years, and when for the first time some degree of leisure had begun to fall to my share, I commenced to prepare a revised and corrected issue of the report, with its map reconstructed from my notes, with the intention of offering it to the Government for republication the report itself having been long out of print. Some progress had been made when my friend James Dick, of Cooktown, sent me proofs of a pamphlet in which he proposed to summarise the narrative of the Geological and Prospecting Expeditions.

When I had gone over the proofs, correcting them only in so far as statements of fact were concerned, I fully realised how misleading my original narrative must have been, misprinted as it was, and unaccompanied by the map which. I resumed my task with renewed vigour, and with a wider scope, and Mr. Dick, up to the date of his death, assisted me in many ways through his local and personal knowledge, happily of more recent date than mine.